VACC WARNS MORALES: DELIVER JUSTICE TO ‘SAF 44’ OR BE IMPEACHED

Charge Aquino, Ombudsman told

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FAMILIES of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos of the Philippine National Police (PNP) brutally killed two years ago urged Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales on Wednesday to hold accountable all those involved in the botched Mamasapano anti-terrorist operation, including former President Benigno Aquino 3rd.

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JUSTICE DELAYED Terry Sumbilla (left), mother of Special Action Force (SAF) commando John Lloyd Sumbilla who was slain during the January 2015 Mamasapano operation, cries during a news conference in Quezon City. Behind her is a cross symbolizing the

Carrying a cross containing the names of the slain troopers, the SAF 44 families went on a “March for Justice” to the Ombudsman a day after the government’s graft prosecutor charged two former police officials for graft and usurpation of official functions but left out Aquino who authorized the January 25, 2015 raid.

“There’s no justice until now,” cried Telly Sumbilla, mother of Police Officer (PO) 3 John Lloyd Sumbilla who was slain and mutilated by gunmen at Mamasapano in Maguindanao.

“After he was gunned down, they took out his eyes. They severed his arms. Then they just covered him with banana leaves. Tell me. What would I feel?” Sumbilla said in a news conference before the march that marked the second anniversary of the carnage.

Nicky Nacino, father of 32-year-old PO2 Nicky Nacino Jr. who left behind a wife and child, told The Times: “We need justice. It seems like nothing will happen to this case, just like the other cases. All promises.”

Aquino being ‘shielded’

Lawyer Ferdinand Topacio questioned why the Ombudsman did not include Aquino in the charges filed Tuesday at the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court against former PNP chief Alan Purisima and former SAF director Getulio Napeñas.

Carpio-Morales, he said, could be impeached if she continues to drag her feet on the case.

“As the nation marked the second commemoration of the gruesome killings today, the Ombudsman hurriedly announced they have filed cases only of usurpation and graft against the PNP leadership then at the Sandiganbayan, without naming Aquino,” Topacio said.

“It seems Aquino is being shielded. Is she (Ombudsman Morales) afraid of the person who appointed her?” Topacio asked.

Dante Jimenez, founding chairman of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), said the SAF men were not only put into the “lion’s den” but in the “quick sands of death.”

Jimenez echoed President Rodrigo Duterte’s statements before the SAF families on Tuesday in Malacañang, during which the Chief Executive lashed out at Aquino, his predecessor, for failing to help the police commandos during the ill-fated operation.

The operation, known as Oplan Exodus, resulted in the killing of international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir. But over 60 people, including 44 members of the SAF, were killed in a gun battle with Muslim rebels who were protecting the terrorist.

In July last year, the VACC, represented by Topacio, filed a case of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide against those behind the operation, including Aquino.

“We have found out that the Ombudsman only asked the respondents to reply last December and we were not informed nor a notice was sent to us. We only learned that we were supposed to comment on the reply through Mrs. Sumbilla who received a notice via courier,” Topacio said.

He noted that even the PNP’s Board of Inquiry held Aquino responsible for bypassing the police force’s chain of command.

He also accused the then Justice secretary, now Sen. Leila de Lima, of covering up Aquino’s role, citing a report by the National Bureau of Investigation “filled with erasures.”

“Literally a cover up,” Topacio said as he showed the report.

Morales shrugs off threat

Morales, appointed Ombudsman by Aquino in 2012, on Wednesday shrugged of Topacio’s threat of impeachment.

“Never mind VACC. Let them charge me. Let them prove that I am covering up [for somebody]. If they fail to prove it, beware,” Morales told reporters at the sidelines of a women’s summit in Pasay City.

“I understand the VACC filed a case against him (Aquino) [before my office]. And just because somebody filed against him we will file it right away [before the Sandiganbayan]? No. You have to conduct a preliminary investigation. That’s where the due process comes in,” Morales, a former Supreme Court associate justice, pointed out.

Morales however bared that she was investigating the former chief of records of the Ombudsman’s Office of the Special Prosecutor for the delayed filing of cases against Purisima and Napeñas, which she said should have been lodged with the Sandiganbayan in June 2016.

“If not for the press, we would not have discovered it was not filed at all. There are so many cases against Purisima. Purisima here, Purisima there. I go over several cases and presume that the case was filed. So, when it was discovered it was not filed, as I tell you, I gave her a show-cause order to explain within 24 hours why she should not be faulted,” Morales said.

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18 Comments

  1. ist of all Morales is doing a good job. the other lapses in late filing of the cases falls in lazyness in the government workers highlighted already by Duterte. Pnoy was ill advised during the operation. He cannot be held accountable. Its the Napoles and Purisisma down to the chain of command that are or should be prosecuted. the other are poor planning, and incompetence which is rampant in the PNP and military, thats why they have very high casualty rates against the enemies of the state.

  2. Now that Conchita Morales has turned 75 yrs old , she should be relieved of her position as an Ombudsman .The President must appoint someone who will be fair and not selective , someone who will not allow her or his position be influenced by politics .Mamasapano victims and their family will not get the justice they deserve, while Ombudsman Morales -an Aquino appointee is in power.

  3. I think SC justice Sereno should look into this matter why our justice index has gone down….this is one very good example …no case were investigate properly on Masasapano…PDAF…DAP….and then sereno claims it is the killings that resulted in the poor performance of the justice system which is just quite new in the sense!!!!

  4. Whether or not former President Aquino should be included among those who were charged in court for the Mamasapano incident is a matter of evidence and law. No person may be prosecuted for an offense simply because of political noise or the cries of any group. Ombudsman Morales should be commended and admired instead of vilified for the strength of her will and determination to uphold the rule of law and not to take the easy way and succumb to external pressure or the passion of the times. For the former president, he should welcome this move taken by President DU30 because it will give him the opportunity and the venue to present his side of the Mamasapano story and to finally get the closure he needs. As for President DU30, this reinvestigation may be the means to clear whatever doubts and misgivings he has on the matter and to help the survivors move on with their lives.

    • Really? Then Gloria. Corona, Binay, and all the enemies of Noynoy should not have been treated as if they were already guilty. Enough of your sanctimonious BS. Impeach this KKK Morales.

    • Why didn’t Aquino and his Purisima cooperate with the investigation by turning over the cell phone records when requested ?
      They both refused and instead Purisima submitted a written transcript with no proof whatsoever of what was actually said or at what time.

      Enter Roxas who contributed that he forgot to tell Aquino that the senate wanted to question him.

      A massive coverup by the combined Liberal Party presented to the people by the deal making lead senate committee investigator senator Poe.

    • Ok. Apply the law. Are there any different law or explanation of command responsibility of a sitting President and as a Commander-in-Chief. Binago na ba ang principle na yan sa Pilipinas. The mere fact he was the authorizing, approving officer. He’s part of the plan. Come on people, it is clear he is liable, pinagtatakpan lang.

  5. What else is new? there are drug lord and kidnapper protectors, so why not previous administration’s top persona protectors? ……

  6. GO GO GO… Go mr new pres DU30 you can make a big change for this dirty tricks of the GOV. OFFICIALS.. cover here..cover there…delay here.. delay there… due process? all being patch because of this…every steps has to go each department & make it easy for them hiding chargeable offense.

    Now is the time for PINOY’ enough time for him. (clan..clan..clan)

  7. You go in several cases and presume that there is case filed against purisima? so when did you only discover that there’s no case filed in your office? or you already have a weak case to file before this administration conduct another investigation?

  8. Carpio-Morales, he said, could be impeached if she continues to drag her feet on the case.
    ——————————————————————

    That’s all Morales does is delay cases for years if they are against the liberal party and she will only investigate them if it doesn’t include the the highest ranking members.

    Aquino and Roxas are responsible for the coverup of the SAF 44
    Aquino and Roxas are responsible for the MRT LTO contract scandal
    Aquino and Roxas are responsible the cheating in the national elections
    Aquino and Abad responsible for the pork barrel scam
    Aquino and Abad responsible for the DAP fund scandal and bribery of congress.

    There are more, many more but Ombudsman Morales didn’t do her job.

    Impeach her

  9. victor morales on

    Pinas is wayyy too trigger happy when it comes to going after Former leaders. Haven’t lived in pinas since 98 and things still haven’t changed.

  10. If for some reasons they bring charges on Aquino, it will only a waste of time and money for the people that file lawsuits because, he was the Commander-In-Chief and he did not have anything to do as far as the execution of the failed military mission. The closest person that can be charged for dereliction of duty was the highest ranking military commander on the ground, which was General Napenas. Another thing is, the Mamasapano operation was a military operation that was executed by the elite members of the PNP, and whoever says it was the operation conducted by the CIA, they need to have their brains examined because U.S. Doctrine says that they cannot use foreign troops if they, the CIA themselves, conduct military operations in a foreign country.

  11. jose b taganahan on

    Anybody especially the relatives of the SAF 44 can file a criminal complaint against ex Pres. Pnoy just as i was able to file criminal and administrative cases against my superiors in government in 2003 which resulted in their dismissal from the service in the case of Leodegario R. Bascos, Jr. et al versus Engr Jose B. Taganahan et al (GR. No. 180666 dated Feb. 18, 2009). Unfortunately, the criminal aspect of the case is still pending before the Regional Trial Court in Quezon City as of today.However, i believed that the Ombudsman will just dismiss any complaint filed against Pnoy for lack of material evidence.

  12. should have happened a long time ago. but of course, the aquino-appointed ombudsman is only doing what is expected of her – to protect her benefactor. what’s new? impeach her.

  13. Morales is not going to charge her master (Aquino) of his complicity on Mamasapano massacre. She is so scared or maybe thinks Aquino is a god that is incapable of sinning.